Under Her Skin - Susan Mallery
Heiress Engaged To Marry Playboy!
Lexi Titan can just see the headlines. All of Titanville will be buzzing. Not that she has any other choice. Faced with exactly thirty days to come up with two million dollars, she is out of options. Marry Cruz Rodriguez or lose everything — the successful day spa she built herself, her tyrant of a father's respect. And the long-standing competition with her sisters for the family business.
Cruz has money, success, smoldering good looks — everything but the blue blood needed to become a true member of Texas society. If Lexi agrees to be his fiancée for six months, lending him her famous father's influence and connections, he'll hand her a check on the spot. And in six months they'll go their separate ways.
But neither one is prepared for their long-ago shared passion to throw a wrench into what would seem to be the perfect deal...
After my first Susan Mallery read (The Sparkling One), I have to admit that I was not expecting much from this book. I was pleasantly surprised. I read this book in one afternoon, and I enjoyed it. I would by far recommend it to read first if you have never read Susan Mallery. I gained more respect for her writing and character development in this book than I did in the other one.
This book is the first in the Lone Star Sisters series. It is based on three sisters, daughters of Jed Titan (a hardass father if I've ever seen one). Basically the sisters are good friends with life being pretty good despite the jerk-moves of their father, then he pulls a surprise on them by telling them that he will only give ONE of them his inheritance (and not divide it up). So it puts the sisters into competition to be the heiress. Despite them being good friends, it makes for lots of conflict. Lexi Titan (the oldest) wants the company. Skye Titan wants the house and plantation. Izzy Titan wants who knows what (I did not really pay attention to her as a character, sorry).
Anyway, Lexi started her own company as a way to prove she's worth something to her father. She ends up making a bad decision in a re-callable loan, and she needs 2 million dollars quick. So she makes a deal for a fake, six month engagement to Cruz, a wealthy man from the wrong side of the tracks that wants to get into society. The book is mainly about how they fall in love, with a subplot about who recalled the loan and such.
I was pleasantly surprised in the middle of the book by a curve in the plot. I won't go into detail because I don't want to ruin it for you, but it made the book better in my eyes. This curve in the plot shows deeper character development and really made me actually feel the romance between the two characters. Instead of boy-meets-girl-then-they-fall-in-love plot, the book actually had substance, arguments between the characters, and showed how falling in love and being a couple can be complicated in that combining-two-lives-into-one idea. I enjoyed reading about the tension and love between Lexi and Cruz, and I loved both characters.
There were other characters that I found flat and lacking, which made me only give the book a 3.5. Izzy, the youngest sister, I found annoying and I often wanted to just hit her over the head and be like "Really! Grow up!" I'm the youngest of four and if I ever acted like that, I'm so sorry and will send immediate apologies to all of my siblings. Jed Titan I found to be a total ass of a father. I'm not sure if Mallery just wanted to make him a cold-hearted jerk, or if there is actually a reason he is that way. But I found it just a little hard to believe that a father would be so cold and incredibly mean to his daughters.
Ultimately, I enjoyed this novel. It restored my faith in Susan Mallery, and I will probably get the next book in the series to see how things end up. There were good and bad parts to the book. But the writing and characters of the main story were very enjoyable, and I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys chick lit and romance.